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Commission finds Richmond officer initiated violence in fatal shooting

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Richmond’s Police Community Review Commission approved a statement Wednesday night indicating that Officer Wallace Jensen initiated the violent encounter that led to the death of Richard “Pedie” Perez in 2014 and that Jensen’s statements were inconsistent with evidence gathered at the scene of the crime.

Commissioners said by unanimous vote Wednesday night:

“The commission found, by clear and convincing evidence, the testimony of Officer Jensen attempting to justify his use of lethal force was inconsistent with the evidence presented to the commission.”

The statement read:

“Jensen initiated physical violence directed at Mr. Perez despite Perez posing no threat to Jensen or anyone else.”

“Jensen was unable to physically dominate Mr. Perez and escalated to shooting his gun at Mr. Perez, causing his death.”

The shooting occurred on Sept. 14, 2014, outside of Uncle Sam’s Liquors at 3322 Cutting Blvd.

The Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office in 2016 issued a report deeming the shooting justified even though Perez’s family had been vocal about their disagreement with the version of events released by police and prosecutors.

According to the district attorney’s office report, Jensen said he encountered Perez because of ongoing issues with loitering outside of the liquor store.

He said a store clerk there identified Perez as “causing problems.” He found Perez intoxicated, which the report states was confirmed in a coroner’s toxicology report.

Jensen said Perez was uncooperative and tried to walk away while being detained, which the officer responded to by using a judo move to take him to the ground. He tried to call police assistance using his radio but he was on the wrong frequency, according to the report.

During a subsequent fight, during which Perez freed himself and stood up multiple times, the officer allegedly felt Perez reaching for his firearm and trying to take it out of its holster.

When, according to Jensen, Perez continued trying to grab for his gun, Jensen shot him.

The Perez family settled a lawsuit with the city of Richmond in February 2016 that was initially filed in an effort to have Jensen stripped of his firearm and his ability to carry a firearm. In the settlement, the city did not admit liability for the shooting.

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